Mahabharata Anusasana Parva - Translation by KM Ganguly

Mahabharata Adiparva

Section CXXXII

"Bhishma said, 'After this, the Grandsire Brahman, sprang from the primeval lotus and resembling the lotus (in agreeableness and fragrance), addressed the deities with Vasava, the lord of Sachi, at their head,--Yonder sits the mighty Naga who is a resident of the nether regions. Endued with great strength and energy, and with great prowess also, his name is Renuka. He is certainly a great being. Those mighty elephants endued with great energy and power, who hold the entire earth with her hills, waters, and lakes should be interviewed by this Renuka at your request. Let Renuka go to them and ask them about the mysteries of religion or duty.--Hearing these words of the Grandsire, the deities, with well-pleased minds commissioned (the elephant) Renuka to where those upholders of the world are.'"

"Renuka, proceeding to where those elephants are, addressed them, saying, 'Ye mighty creatures, I have been commanded by the deities and the Pitris to question you about the mysteries of religion and duty. I desire to bear you discourse on that subject in detail. Ye highly blessed ones, do ye discourse on the subject as your wisdom may dictate.'

"The (eight) elephants standing in the eight quarters said, 'On the auspicious eighth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Karttika when the constellation Aslesha is in the ascendant, one should make gifts of treacle and rice. Casting aside wrath, and living on regulated diet, one should make these offerings at a Sraddha, uttering these mantras the while--Let Valadeva and other Nagas possessed of great strength, let other mighty snakes of huge bodies that are indestructible and eternal, and let all the other great snakes that have taken their birth in their race, make Vali offerings to me for the enhancement of my strength and energy. Verily, let my strength be as great as that of the blessed Narayana when he raised the submerged Earth!--Uttering these mantras, one should make Vali offerings upon an ant-hill. When the maker of day retires to his chambers in the west, upon the ant-hill selected should offerings be made of raw sugar and rice. The ant-hill should previously be scattered with Gajendra flowers, Offerings should also be made of blue cloths and fragrant unguents. If offerings are made in this way, those beings that live in the nether regions, bearing the weight of the upper regions upon their heads or shoulders, become well-pleased and gratified. As regards ourselves, we also do not feel the labour of upholding the Earth, in consequence of such offerings being made to us. Afflicted with the burden we bear, even this is what we think (beneficial for men), without the slightest regard for selfish concerns. Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas and Sudras, by observing this rule for a full year, fasting on each occasion, acquire great merits from such gifts. We think that the making of such Vali offerings on the ant-hill is really fraught with very superior merits. By making such offerings, one is regarded as doing the duties of hospitality for a hundred years to all the mighty elephants that exist in the three worlds.' Hearing these words of the mighty elephants, the deities and the Pitris and the highly blessed Rishis, all applauded Renuka."